Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry, Head Coach Jay Gruden, Stephen Bowen (6-1-16)

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

On how he projects position changes for players such as LB Trent Murphy, S DeAngelo Hall and S Will Blackmon:

"That's a great question because I think you can't just say, 'Hey, he's been in the NFL for 10 years, he can go play another position.' There are subtle intricacies to every position. Specifically with Trent, we just assessed that Trent is at his best going forward. As an outside linebacker, you rush half the time, you drop half the time. So, we thought Trent is better going that way [forward] instead of dropping backwards. So we said let's let him put his hand in the ground, get off the ball. go cause havoc going toward the quarterback and into the backfield. And obviously there are growing experiences – growing pains, I should say – with every position, so he's kind of fighting his way through that a little bit, mainly the terminology. But he's done everything we've asked. He's over 280 pounds now, so I think it's going to be a great position change for him. With Will and D-Hall, it's the same thing. I think again that's kind of what I meant – just because they're savvy veterans, just because they've played a ton of football… but they've played a ton of football at corner. Going into safety, it's a different world. But both those guys have such great football awareness, great football instincts, and the good thing is they're going to get an entire offseason – Phase 1, Phase 2, all the OTAs, they're going to get an entire training camp. So, I think you kind of remember we kind of flirted around with D-Hall with it last year and that was one of the things where we didn't want to do it just for the simple fact we were like, 'Well, let's give the guy an offseason if we're going to do it.' But all three of those guys are doing a great job. It's hard when you move positions, no doubt about it. They have attacked the position change and are really working their tail off." 

On the starting safeties:

"When the first team goes out, only 11 guys can go out. We preach and we're firm believers – it comes from Jay [Gruden] all the way down – it's all about competition. So, yes, [DeAngelo] Hall and David Bruton are going with the first group, but we're rolling guys in there. Our depth chart is in pencil, it's not in Sharpie. Obviously, we do have a first team, we have a second team, we have a third team at every position, but we're in constant competition. Last time I checked, we don't have to make a full [determination] who our starters are until our opener. We're getting a bunch of work with a bunch of different guys, but, yeah D-Hall and David are running with the first group."

On how S Su'a Cravens will be used:

"The thing that I have to be careful with that I have to remember is that he is a 20-year-old rookie. He's a kid that really should be going into his fourth year of college and getting ready for two-a-days back in L.A. So, I have to be careful with that because a guy like that you can do so many things with. You can play him at inside backer, you can play him at outside backer and rush him off the edge or drop him into coverage. You can play him in the slot in a nickel position and do a bunch of things with him. So, right now kind of just as a starting point, he's playing our weakside linebacker – which we call 'Mo' – in base and then he's playing our weakside linebacker in nickel, which we call the dime linebacker. But I think as he learns and he picks up the system and the more comfortable he gets, the sky is the limit with all the different things you can do with him. But we've got to remember, he's a new kid coming in, learning the playbook, learning all new terminology. He'll be the first one to tell you, the rookie minicamp, it was like we were speaking a different language, which is understandable. It's hard for young guys at any position to come in and learn the terminology of a new playbook. I don't care if you're on offense or defense. But, he's a special one in the sense that he's got God-given football awareness and instincts. He's got natural stuff. Plus, he's a great athlete, he's tough, he can run, he can tackle, he can hit, he can blitz, he can play coverage. So, really, I think down the road moving forward, I think the sky is the limit on what we can do with him."

On his expectations for DE Stephen Paea:

"My expectations are high because I think he's a phenomenal player. I've been a fan of his from when he came out of Oregon State. I obviously followed his entire career before he got here. He's got ability and he can play and the thing with that, I think Stephen sometimes – with a lot of players – tend to overanalyze things, and Stephen is at his best when he just gets off the ball and goes and I think he's getting back to that. Stop thinking. It doesn't matter if you're playing a one-technique, a three-technique, a five-technique, doesn't matter if it's base, doesn't matter if it's nickel, just get off the ball and go. So, I'm expecting big things out of him this year, as is he. He's a very good football player and he can do something in this league, big time."

On having more versatility on the defensive line:

"I think that [versatile] is a good word. The thing also – and we've had these conversations in here before – really the way the NFL is going, that traditional nose guard, he only plays 10-15 snaps a game. This is becoming such a throwing league… The fullback position, for example, it's almost extinct. Those teams that play in 21 personnel or 22 personnel, heavy run formations where you need a nose guard, those are almost a thing of the past. I think going into this season, I think we can almost feel comfortable without having one of those traditional nose guards. Obviously, we're going to be in fronts, whether it's base or nickel, we're going to have a one-technique, we're going to have a zero-technique over the center and we're going to be able to have multiple different guys to play that position. So I think it's a nice advantage. We have a bunch of guys that can be in that position, not just the old-fashioned, traditional 360-pound nose guard."

On how he reacted to CB Josh Norman becoming available and signing with the Redskins:

"In this presence of you guys, I can't say exactly what I said when I heard, but it was… I actually got a text from [Eric] Schaffer saying that, 'Hey, he's available and we made a formal offer.' And at that time, I think 11 or 12 teams made formal offers. That was on a Wednesday night, so by Friday morning I was on a plane going down to pick up his family and by Friday night we agreed to a deal. So it was a whirlwind. But the thing with Josh, I mean obviously to get a player of his caliber, I think anytime you add that on to your roster it's huge, but to get the type of work ethic, the type of character... The story I always tell people is that we walked out of the building with Josh and his family and all of us at about 10:30 on that Friday night, he was going back to the airport to fly back home and I was like, 'OK bro, when do you think you're going to make it back?' He looked at me literally like I was crazy. He was like, 'What are you talking about? I will be back Sunday night and I will be in the building at 8:00 Monday morning to work.' So, that to me said a lot. He wasn't one of those guys that said, 'Hey, I'll get there when OTAs start.' He was literally there 48 hours later and in the building at 8:00 in the morning with his new teammates working with Coach [Mike] Clark. I can't remember if we were in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the offseason, but to me that said a lot about him. We obviously see all of the clips on NFL Network and the plays that he makes on the field, but his true character is his work ethic, his passion, and he wants to be great and he wants to make his teammates around him great. I think that is a huge attribute that he has that a lot of people don't see."

On signing Norman:

"It was an exciting time. We were all fired up, that was the cool thing with Josh. I mean, it was his mom and dad, his four brothers were there. To go through something like that and see something like that when a player can be rewarded for what he has done but then to really see how close he is with his mom and dad and his brothers, that was a pretty cool night. It was a lot of fun."

On the full offseason for Hall, Blackmon and S David Bruton Jr.:

"We were talking about it before, you know I think it's really benefited D-Hall and Will Blackmon for that matter. You know, we moved D-Hall to safety last year during the bye week, which was the middle of the season. So for D-Hall and Will to be able to get Phase 1, Phase 2, obviously the OTAs which we are in now, Phase 3. To get an entire offseason playing the new position, I think that's huge. David Bruton is a phenomenal kid. I don't know if you guys really have gotten to know him yet but just another great addition not only as a football player but as a leader. You know, we lost a great leader in Dashon Goldson in that room. I think David is going to do a great job not only with his playmaking ability on the field but with his leadership. He's just that type of guy in the meeting room, in the weight room, on the practice field, in the locker room. That's great when you get a veteran player that is not only a really good football player, he's a great leader. It's great for the camaraderie of the group."

On Paea:

"I think as I mentioned before, I think anytime that a player changes teams, changes systems as a veteran, there is going to be a little bit of a learning curve both in scheme and terminology and then to add into it that he got banged up, hurt his foot. I've seen Stephen perform at a high level before. I thought he was a great player coming out of college and I do – I have high expectations for all of our players and Stephen is included. So I think he has got to get back to getting off the ball and causing havoc in the backfield and that is when he is at his best. Whether it is run or pass, getting off the ball and being violent and I think he getting to that stage as far as comfort in the system. He is 100 percent healthy so I think those two things in combination are really going to help him."

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On WR Josh Doctson:

"Well, he just hurt his foot yesterday. We got some X-rays and everything came back negative, so we kept him out today and hopefully he will be back next week or shortly thereafter. But it is important to get these reps. These are important, no question about it, but we have other ways to get him to learn the system. We have all the meeting room time and that will be beneficial to him and we still have all of training camp and preseason games, so he has plenty of time. I'd be lying if I said these reps weren't important, but he will have other ways to learn it."

On if Doctson's injury is related to his Achilles:

"His foot. It's a different injury, so I think it's the same one though. They are totally different… Same foot, different injuries."

On if TE Vernon Davis can contribute both as a pass catcher and as a blocker:

"I hope so, yes. He is a very gifted athlete. He is sitting out right now with a little bit of a groin also; we are trying to get him back. He's still learning a new system, new terminology and that will take some time, but he is definitely a valuable tight end because he is good in the core and the running game. He obviously can run down the seams very fast and put pressure on the defense in that regard also but really I see him both."

On G Spencer Long's improvement:

"Yeah, at guard you see the improvement quite a bit – just the knowledge and the confidence that all the players get going into their second and third year. They get a little more confidence of how we do things, the calls or the ability to react a lot quicker with movement on the defensive line and knowing where to go and how to get there. He has already got the athletic ability. He is a big man that can run and he is strong, so now if he brings the confidence and the knowledge of the system with him, he's going to be very, very good. Center is a different story – it is brand new to him and he's finding his way there."

On the competition at left guard:

"Well, Shawn Lauvao is going to be healthy here shortly I hope and I think that will be a great competition. You know, Shawn was playing at a very high level before he got injured, so I'm not going to pencil in anybody as a starter right now. I want to make sure Shawn gets healthy first. I really like his ability but I love the way Spencer came on at the end of the year. It's good to have two good guys at that position."

On what has stood out about CB Josh Norman:

"Well, his work ethic, number one. You never know what type of worker they are until they actually get in your building and that has been the most impressive. He's got the skill set; he has already proven that. He is a Pro Bowl corner and almost Defensive Player of the Year and all that good stuff. You know about his game day ability, but what you don't know about is how he is with the other players and in the meeting room and on the practice field. So far everything has been outstanding and I have been thrilled to see him work when the ball is not on his side and he is not in the meeting room and all that. He has been a pleasure to be around and he is going to help us out a lot, no question."

On if he can see the angst in rookies trying to get everything right:

"Yeah, they don't get as many reps maybe as the veterans are getting right now. So we are just trying to very slowly get them involved, and when they do get in there, there are some times when they mess up obviously, but it's great repetition for them. They're anxious to get in there and they are anxious to do right and show what they have. They are all very good college players obviously, but this is a whole new tempo and a whole new system for all of them. We just have to be patient with them and help them develop and I think that's why we have a great coaching staff here. We're going to help them develop and hopefully get them ready for training camp where they have a chance to compete and in the preseason games they will be ready to fly around and that is the whole goal."

On if he is pleased with the running game:

"Well, being [that] we're in shorts and helmets, you know the running game is not going to always look that pretty because we can't be that physical up front on either side of the ball. But, I'm happy with the way Matt [Jones] is seeing things, his tracks. Obviously, he's been excellent in the passing game and the protection. So, Mack Brown's done some good things. Keith Marshall's really shown a lot of good things with burst and speed, and ability to read cuts and make cuts. He's been excellent. So I'm excited about the room that we have."

On if he has seen improvement in RB Matt Jones' ball security:

"Yeah, I mean he better be able to carry it now – we're not tackling him [laughter]. If he's putting the ball down now, we have problems. But it's been talked about and it's been worked on. Fundamentally, we drill him. We've got a special ball for him, we've got all kinds of things that help him out, mainly focus on the ball not just when he's in contact or in the line of scrimmage, but outside of contact where he had a lot of trouble last year. So, we're working with him, and he's a diligent guy. He's working hard at it. He'll get it corrected; he better."

On Jones between the tackles:

"Oh, he loves it. He loves it in there. He loves it dirty. That's not the issue with him. He's a physical runner. He definitely loves those inside power-running type plays."

On the state of the center position with Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus and Austin Reiter:

"Yeah, Austin and we're also schooling Spencer [Long] in there too. You know, Kory played very good for us before his injury. You know, we were running the ball very effectively with him in there and then he got hurt unfortunately and Josh was forced into action and he improved as the season went on. So we feel like we've got good two centers there. And we drafted Austin and he's shown improvement from year one to year two being on the practice squad and then of course Spencer is doing some good things. So, I feel good about the center position right now."

On the NBA Finals:

"Oh, that's a tough one. I wouldn't bet against Steph or LeBron to be honest with you. I just love watching that series and those players play and big time players making those big plays. It's fun to watch."

On WR Reggie Diggs:

"He got a scope and he'll hopefully be ready for training camp."

On if facing Norman helps the receivers as well:

"Yeah, it's great. We can't really do a lot of competitive one-on-one things right now, but it's going to be great. It's going to be a fun training camp, I'll tell you that. With Josh and Bree [Bashaud Breeland] and [Will] Blackmon and D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] and all these guys. The guys with the experience that they have and the receivers with the experience that they have, the youth, the enthusiasm that he brings back to that defensive back group, it's going to be a fun training camp, I'll tell you that. These guys are competing out here already. We've got to try to tone them down a little bit because of the rules. But, I think it's going to be an excellent training camp that's going to make us better."

On experimenting with players in new positions:

"Well, this is the time to do it. Obviously you want people to dominate their position, but we also need players to be versatile because you never know who's going to get hurt on game day and guys might have to be left tackle and they might have to be left guard, they might have to be center, they might have to be right guard. Defensive lineman might have to play inside or outside, linebackers might have to play both linebacker positions, all that. Safeties might have to play nickel. This is a time to really school our system and let people play different positions. We'll see the ones that can handle it and the ones that can't. It's a very important part of the game today to have versatile players on your football team."

On what he does to make sure a new addition like Norman fits in with the team:

"Nothing really, I don't really have to do a lot. I think the players all respect Josh for what he accomplished last year with the Carolina Panthers. Then when he came in here, he didn't come in here thinking he was better than everybody. He came in here and worked as hard as a first-year rookie has trying to learn the system. So he's been very humble, he's worked extremely hard. You go out on the field and he's the same way. All he does is work and try to get himself better and try to get his teammates better, and that's what it's all about. He's a great football player, but I think right now he's shown that he's also a great teammate."

Former Redskins Defensive End Stephen Bowen

Opening statement:

"It's good to be here, good to be here. I'd like to thank some of my former teammates, man, for being here. Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Kirk Cousins, great guys, man. I played with a lot of good guys here. That's why I'm here today.

"I started playing football at the age of seven. Since then, it has been my outlet, my place of comfort, and it has brought me great joy. I was just a kid from New York with dreams of making it to the NFL. Like so many others, not knowing that it could actually happen, I truly believe that if you work hard, your talent won't be denied.

"I came from a small I-AA university, I was undrafted and overlooked by many. But Bill Parcells saw something in me that a lot of people didn't. I want to thank him, Jerry Jones, and the entire Cowboy organization for giving me an opportunity to showcase my talent. I also really want to thank my old defensive line coach, who is now the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets, Kacy Rodgers, for instilling the tools I needed to be a great defensive lineman in the league.

"When I came to the Redskins in 2011, it was a difficult time for my family and I. I had just lost my son, Skylar, and my mother-in-law, Muriel passed away a few months after that. However, it was the embrace of the Redskins' family that gave me comfort. This immediately felt like home and I was able to shine here. This is a world-class organization made up of world-class people. I want to thank Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen and Coach [Mike] Shanahan for their belief in me. I also want to thank Larry Hess and the whole training staff for always having me ready to play on Sunday. I want to thank the Redskins' fans. You guys were there win or lose. You guys are truly the best fans in the world.

"Without my family, there's no way that I would ever be the man I am today. My mom – who is here – has always been there to support me and has always been there when I needed her most. To my dad, my first coach, who introduced me to this game that I love, I wouldn't be playing this sport if it wasn't for you. To my kids, including the one in heaven, thank you for always motivating me. You're the reason Daddy worked hard every day. And last but not least, my beautiful wife, Tiffany, is here, has always been there for me since the beginning, who has always been there no matter what. I love you, I adore you, and I thank God for you.

"I always felt like this was home, and even though I'm retiring today, I will forever be a Washington Redskin. HTTR, thank you."

On what made him want to retire as a Redskin:

"I always felt like here was just a family-oriented organization from the top [to] bottom. These D-lineman [Baker and Golston] are still here today would forever be my brothers. You can't change the way you feel about something and it's always been that type of vibe here." 

On why he is retiring now:

"Ten years is a long time. I've been playing football since I was seven years old. That's 25 years straight of playing football, man, and my body is getting sore. You know, I feel like there is other joys to life. I get to really enjoy my kids now… I feel like I really didn't get to be the dad that I wanted to be or the husband and I'm able to do that."

On if he will settle in the area:

"No, we already have a place in New York City. And, that's where we'll always call home."

On which game from his career stands out in his memory:

"The No. 1 game that always stands out in my mind is that last game we beat Dallas to go to the playoffs. I mean, that run that we went on, I've never been part of a team so special like that. No matter what game we played, we just knew that we had the confidence to win. I feel like that was the beginning of the turning point here in Washington."

On always having fun in the locker room and if that is something he'll miss:

"Without a doubt. I'm going to miss that more than anything, man. I mean, the grind, the sacrifice that you're with the guys every day and they're doing the same thing sacrificing with you… You have no choice but to develop a bond with guys when you go through the things that we're going through."

Comment from DE Chris Baker:

BAKER: "It's not really a question, but I just want to say thanks, Bo. You [were] one of the guys when I came in on the practice squad, and you [were] a guy I looked up to. You [were] one of the guys who always believed in me and told me, 'One day you're going to be in my shoes.' And, I really took that advice and just watched you and Barry [Cofield] as professionals and husbands and the way you guys act. It has really taught me and I owe a lot to you guys for the player that I am today. So, I just want to say thank you for always being my friend and a role model to me, man. Thank you. I appreciate it."

On if he expects special things from this year's group:

"Absolutely, man, absolutely. When you have ties to the team and friends, you always watch what everybody's doing. The way they won the division last year, it was amazing. And I mean, I feel like really sky is the limit. I'm looking forward to watching this year, and I think they should do nothing but dominate, really. They're good at every position."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.